The phenomenon of legendary older musicians working with younger contemporary artists to broaden artistic and commercial possibilities had almost become its own genre by the mid-2000s. Sergio Mendes's 2006 release TIMELESS keeps that trend alive and kicking. In a full-scale collaboration with Black Eyed Peas, Mendes updates the Brazilian pop he mastered in the 1960s by infusing it with R&B and hip-hop.
The synthesis should come as no surprise. Amid the reggaeton craze of the 2000s, who better to lay down Latin-flavored tracks for MCs than Mr. Brazil 66 himself? But the real clincher here is the roster of guest stars which includes Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, the Roots, and the aforementioned Black Eyed Peas, among many others. The odd, yet surprisingly successful combos (Timberlake and underground MC Pharoahe Monch anyone?) mix Mendes's bossa nova and samba with equal doses mainstream pop, funky soul, and hard-edged rap, revealing the polymorphous possibilities in the master's sound, and creating an album that is certainly timely, if not timeless.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.68) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he album relaxes halfway through with lush, newly written ballads....When TIMELESS succeeds, it's beautiful, boundary-breaking music."
Entertainment Weekly (p.64) - "[This] set of gentle samba-jazz-rap is a pleasant surprise..." -- Grade: B
JazzTimes (p.78) - "[I]t is Mendes who is the album's backbone -- his piano work forming the solid centerline that assuredly, passionately defines every joyous bump, crevice and curve."
- Mas Que Nada - (featuring Black Eyed Peas)
- That Heat - (featuring Erykah Badu/Will.i.am)
- Berimbau / Consolacao - (featuring Stevie Wonder/Gracinha Leporace)
- Frog, The - (featuring Q-Tip)
- Let Me - (featuring Jill Scott)
- Bananeira - (featuring Mr. Vegas)
- Surfboard - (featuring Will.i.am)
- Please Baby Don't - (featuring John Legend)
- Samba Da Bencao - (featuring Marcelo D2)
- Timeless - (featuring India.Arie)
- Loose Ends - (featuring Justin Timberlake/Pharoahe Monch)
- Fo' Hop (Por Tras De Bras De Pina) - (featuring Guinga/Marcelo D2)
- Lamento - (featuring Maogani Quartet)
- E Menina
- Yes, Yes Y'all - (featuring Black Thought/Chali 2NA/Debi Nova)